Get ready for the Rumble in the Rockies.
About 300 computer-elite students from around the globe are coming to Banff, Alta., next month in the 32nd annual Battle of the Brains — a high-pressure, high-stakes clash of grey matter that is, quite simply, the industry’s Cyber Super Bowl.
“This is a way to get access to the absolute best and brightest in the entire world,” said Doug Heintzman of computer giant IBM, which sponsors the competition, known formally as the Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest.
The 100-team event runs April 6-10 at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel and will crown a year of competition that saw 6,500 students match wits in three-person teams at 2,000 universities.
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There are six Canadian teams: The University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Waterloo, which won it all in 1994.
On April 9, the teams will march into the Van Horne Ballroom amid pomp and ceremony and each squad will cluster around a computer. The doors close, the clock ticks, the spectators watch and the scoreboard starts flashing.
Each team is handed the same 10 problems ranging from the simple to the impossible. The team that answers the most questions in five hours wins.
Last year’s winners in Tokyo were from Warsaw University in Poland. The competition has been dominated in recent years by teams from Asia, eastern Europe and Russia.